Andrew Lloyd Webber 'prepared to be arrested' for theatres to fully reopen on 21 June

9 June 2021, 10:12 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 12:02

Lloyd Webber says he may have to sell his six West End venues if the government does not relax its restrictions
Lloyd Webber says he may have to sell his six West End venues if the government does not relax its restrictions. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Andrew Lloyd Webber has insisted he will open his theatres on 21 June and is prepared to be arrested if authorities try to intervene.

The pandemic has had a catastrophic financial impact on the theatre industry.

Many venues have remained closed despite Covid-19 restrictions being eased as it is not financially viable for them to open with reduced capacities.

Lord Lloyd Webber said he is determined to ensure the sector survives after being decimated for more than a year.

READ MORE: 'Nothing in data' suggests delaying 21 June lockdown easing in England - PM

But earlier this morning, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged the impresario to "just wait a few more days as the prime minister analyses the data".

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, he explained that the government had always "said 21 June was the earliest date in which we could move to the next stage of the roadmap".

Lord Lloyd Webber is preparing for a production of Cinderella, which is scheduled to open for previews on 25 June ahead of its world premiere in July.

It comes after Lord Lloyd Webber said he may have to sell his six West End venues if changes are made to the roadmap.

"We are going to open, come hell or high water," he told the Telegraph, while also revealing he has already remortgaged his London home.

Responding to Lord Lloyd Webber's comments, Mr Jenrick told LBC: "I’d love to see theatres reopening, I know he’s got a great production of Cinderella opening in the West End, would love to be taking my kids to it.

"But I would just urge him having been so patient over the last 18 months, I know it’s been devastating for his industry and his own businesses, just wait a few more days as the prime minister analyses the data.

"We don’t want to keep restrictions in place a day longer than is necessary but equally we always said 21 June was the earliest date in which we could move to the next stage of the roadmap."

Lord Lloyd Webber was also asked what he would do if the government amended its roadmap, to which he replied: "We will say: 'come to the theatre and arrest us'."

The composer added that scientific evidence shows theatres are "completely safe" and do not cause outbreaks.

He added: "If the government ignore their own science, we have the mother of all legal cases against them. If Cinderella couldn't open, we'd go, 'Look, either we go to law about it or you'll have to compensate us.'"